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Trip Start Sep 18, 2010
Trip End Oct 14, 2010

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Where I stayed
Chad & Jessica's house

Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Our last day of holidays... :-( The girls were up and about early because they were keen to see Gavin and Logan again before we go back home tonight. Katrina and I had a bit more of a sleep in but got up not long after mindful that Jess was already up and there were 4 kids loose in the house...Chad was out doing some MMA training but turned up just in time for breakfast before heading off to the office. Jess cooked up a nice brekky of bacon, eggs, toast, fruit and coffee. I had one last crack at the Hazelnut Coffeemate. I'm going to have to hunt this down when I get back to Australia, hopefully someone stocks it! It's good gear...
After brekky Jess wanted to show Katrina and the girls some shops in Solana Beach while I headed off to the outlet mall for some final shopping. My youngest sis Shari is getting hitched Nov 6 and I need a new suit and I spied some good ones at Calvin Klein last time we were there. I was in there for about 45 minutes and walked out with a new suit, 3 dress shirts, a tie and 2 pairs of jeans for $362. God bless America! I also picked up 2 pairs of Converse shoes for $60 and a few other bits and pieces, including another suitcase to take all the new gear back on the plane, and headed home for lunch. After lunch the girls wanted to go back to the mall because we promised them a visit to the toy store before we went back. So I supervised them while Katrina, with the upcoming wedding in mind, went dress shopping and found herself a couple of gems. We picked up a few more bits and pieces and headed back to Chez Mestler to pack all our gear into the 4 suitcases - we arrived with 1!  Luckily we just managed to squeeze it all in.
Chad was home when we arrived and there had been some chat about going for a surf but we thought it might have been too much of a squeeze and decided to give it a miss. We hopped on the bikes to go for a look anyway and of course it was good, would have been better not to go and look. Still, hauling a waterlogged steamer all the way back home didn't really appeal so probably a wise decision in the end. Around 5 we headed across the road to the Benihana Japanese restaurant for a final meal before we headed off. The girls had never been to a teppanyaki restaurant before so they were enthralled by the chef's handywork over the grill. It was also a good chance for a final debrief with Chad and Jess and to make some plans to meet up down the track. Sounds like Hawaii is the obvious choice because they go there every year & it is almost the halfway point between our respective countries. Watch this space! Chad insisted on paying for dinner once again for all of us for the umpteenth time on our trip which was really nice of him considering everything he and Jess had already done for us.
We packed the car and said our goodbyes and most importantly thanked Chad & Jess for their kindness and hospitality during our visit. It really made our trip. Hopefully we'll get to repay them one day soon...the girls really fell in love with Jess and the boys and there were a few tears shed in the car. I think they're gonna miss 'em...
The trip to the airport presented a few challenges. Traffic slowed to a crawl 10 minutes down the highway and just as I was starting to get a bit anxious we realised it was a blanket border patrol check across all 6 lanes and once we passed through the check point we were back to full throttle. Then we realised we didn't have the address for the rental car company so we just keyed in the 'Home' address and hoped for the best. However after a while the instructions didn't seem to make sense and I started second guessing them and took us off course and wasted about 10 minutes. Turns out the Nav was right all along! Then we dropped the car off we got on the shuttle to the airport with all our bags for the short 10 minute trip to the Qantas terminal. When we arrived at the terminal the driver helped us unload the bags and we happily waved him off before realising we were a suitcase short!! We were all a bit tired & emotional by this stage and there were a few tears from the girls but luckily I had given the driver and tip and just as we were starting to hit the panic button he roared back around the corner with a grin from ear to ear and could not have been more apologetic. Then when we entered the terminal we couldn't find the check-in area for our flight and eventually figured out it was the next terminal. So off we went and luckily the correct terminal was nice and uncrowded and we were pretty much checked in right away. One of our bags was about 8kg overweight and there was some talk of a fine but it was one of the new bags which we were able to simply split in 2 and check in as a separate piece of luggage. We finally made it to our gate with about 45 minutes to spare, just enough time for Katrina to go and buy a box of See's candy. We finally got the call to board the plane and joined the queue, everyone with a tinge of sadness about leaving but happy that we had pulled off THE BEST HOLIDAY EVER!!!!
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